Apple’s Find My Friends app is great way to keep track of family, friends and those close to you. The app offers location based alerts and notifications. For families, you can feel secure knowing your son or daughter has arrived home. There are plenty of practical uses, such as locating a friend and using the iOS Maps application to help navigate to an unfamiliar destination. Best of all, Find My Friends is a free app available for download from the App Store. Read on for how to use Find My Friends on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

When you first launch the app, you’ll prompted to allow “Find Friends”to access your contacts. If you say ok, the application will return a number of recommendations. This isn’t necessary and in fact, my results were not terribly efficient. It didn’t recommend anyone in my family, despite having set relationships up in Siri. The app will ask if you want to start sharing the location of this iPhone with your followers. Don’t be alarmed. Selecting OK will not start broadcasting your whereabouts to anyone and you’ll always have full control over the level to which your able to be tracked. Select OK, exhale upon knowing your whereabouts are not broadcast to world and let’s move on to the next step.

The pulsing blue icon on the map represents your location. You can pinch and zoom to get a close-up.

How to invite friends

  1. Open the Find My Friends app.
  2. Tap on Add.
  3. If you would like to invite an existing contact, start typing their name. Find My Friends will automatically predict the contact as you type. You can also manually enter an email address.
  4. Send a short message letting them why you’d like to add them to Find My Friends. If you are tracking your kids, you might write something along the lines of “I’m going to make sure you are at home by curfew”.

Add friend

When you invite a friend, they will receive an email asking them to confirm the invitation allowing you to stalk track them.

invitation status

Tip: In order to use Find My Friends, the person you invite needs an iCloud account.

If and when the invitee accepts your request, you’ll receive a notification that your friend request has been accepted.

From the main Friends tab, you can see a list of your friends, both those who have already accepted and those you have invited. Those who have accepted will have a mileage marker sign that shows you how far they are from your current location. It will also show the city, state and last time their location was tracked. Tap on a person and you’ll move into Map mode. Find My Friends allows you to:

  • Tap on the ‘I’ for complete contact information
  • Tap on the Message button to send them a text

Using the Notify Me feature
When still within the contact tracking section of the app, there is a feature that allows you to set-up location based notifications.

  1. Tap on one of your friends.
  2. At the top center, select the Notify Me link.
  3. You are presented with a number of options. You can be notified when the individual Leaves or Arrives. It defaults to the current address of their location. This however can be changed to a different location by selecting ‘Choose Location’. You’ll have to enter the new address.

Notify me when friends leave, arrive

We have family from out of state that visits often. It’s not uncommon for us to ask them to ‘text us when you get home’. Using Find My Friends, I can set up a notify me when they arrive home, so no text message is needed. The app does all of the heavy lifting.

Tip: Some social apps like Twitter provide general location information. Find My Friends provide exact location data, similar to Find My iPhone.

Hiding From Your Legions Of Followers (or just your in-laws)
This app is plenty of fun, but let’s face it, there are times when you don’t want to be tracked. Here’s how to hide your location:

  • Open Find My Friends.
  • Tap on the ‘Me’ at the bottom of the screen.
  • Where it says ‘Share My Location’, toggle to ‘No’. When you return to the main screen, you’ll see a message in red that you are not sharing location.

Disable share my location

Find My Friends FAQs

How can I customize my locations?
Easy. Let’s say you are at the gym. Open the app, tap on the ‘Me’ tab and select ‘Choose Label’. You can choose from the preset labels or enter a custom label. Your followers will now see a map and your title for the location. So maybe instead of gym, you customize a label to say LA Fitness.

If I invite a friend, will they see my location?
No. If you send and receive an accepted request that does not provide them with permission to see your location. They have to in turn send you an invite and wait for you to accept it.

Using the Find My Friends app allows families or a close knit group of friends to know where you are at any given time. You can easily setup location based alerts that will let you know when a friend or family member has arrived at their destination. As with any location sharing app, you have to be careful as to who your allow to see your location information. Find My Friends has the ability to share exact location information. With the ability to customize locations, share locations and setup notifications, the Find My Friends app is a fun way keep tabs on the people you care about most.